Senior officials of the African Union, the Federal Government of Somalia, and the United Nations held a consultative meeting to deliberate on the upcoming second phase of the troop drawdown by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) from Somalia.
The meeting held at the Villa Somalia, Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu, was attended by the African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of ATMIS Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, the Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira and Somalia President’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali.
Also in attendance were ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, a visiting delegation from the African Union Commision led by the Head of the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), Zinurine Abiodu Alghali, Senior Advisors from the Office of the President and the Prime Minister and top-ranking Somalia military and police officers, as well as representatives from the Ministries of Security and Interior among other key departments.
The African Union peacekeeping mission is expected to scale down its troop numbers next month by a further 3000 personnel after successfully withdrawing 2000 troops and handing over six Forward Operating Bases in June.
“Even as we meet here, a joint technical committee drawing its membership from ATMIS, the Federal Government and UNSOS has been meeting to map out the Forward Operating Bases where the 3000 troops will be drawn from,” said Amb. Souef while thanking the UN and the Federal Government of Somalia for their steadfast support and collaboration with ATMIS to ensure the success of the first phase.
“Since we have active combat operations ongoing, the planning of the drawdown must be well synchronised and seamlessly executed so the gains made thus far are not jeopardised,” he said.
Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, commended the African Union and UNSOS for their continued support and reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to overseeing a successful handover of full security responsibilities to the Somali security forces when ATMIS exits Somalia in December 2024.
On her part, the Head of UNSOS, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, asked the technical committee to take into consideration the lessons learned from the first phase of the drawdown, emphasizing, “the UN will ensure the equipment and other facilities handed over to the Somali security forces by exiting ATMIS troops are in good condition and the Somali forces are capacitated on how to use them.”
The UN body provides logistical support to ATMIS and Somali security forces in joint operations with ATMIS.
Under UN Security Council Resolution 2687 (2023), the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union are required to conduct a technical assessment by the end of this month to evaluate Phase one of the drawdown and provide a further update by September 15 on their preparations for the second phase.
The drawdowns are mandated by the UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which require ATMIS to gradually hand over security responsibilities to Somali security forces ahead of the exit from Somalia on 31 December, 2024.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).